Victorian breweries are banding together in an effort to ensure equal access to the state government's Hospitality Venue Fund.
The fund is a $251 million support package for hospitality venues with eligible liquor licences. It offers grants of up to $30,000 for businesses affected by COVID-19.
Breweries that only hold a producers licence feel they are being left behind due to the funding package's eligibility criteria, which requires businesses to hold a standard liquor licence.
Shedshaker Brewing owner Jacqueline Brodie-Hanns said she was shocked not all breweries - including Shedshaker- were eligible for the hospitality venue fund.
"The government has been extraordinarily generous (during the pandemic) with so many funding opportunities," she said. "But it's there to assist licenced venues and we're a licenced venue. There is no reason for this anomaly.
"In the craft beer industry, breweries without tap rooms and a bar will be first to tell you it's a struggle without them."
"Cafes and food venues had their liquor licence adapted and amended to do services they don't normal like home delivery. That was special compensation to recognise the fact hospitality outlets were impacted. Now we need consistency and the same consideration. Why exclude one sector of the industry? "
Independent Brewers Association general manager Kylie Lethbridge said they have approached the state government to rectify the issue but have not yet been successful.
"The fundamental issue is (the state government) didn't know or understand that many breweries, wineries and distillers operate their hospitality components under a producers licence," she said. "It's a technicality. They are not intentionally excluding us but now (the state government) knows, but we have asked 'what's going to happen?'."
When asked in his press conference on Friday, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews said his office will look into the eligibility issue.
A state government spokesperson later confirmed breweries needed a separate liquor licence as well as a producers licence to be eligible for the grant.
"We know that breweries have suffered significant impacts and we continue to talk to the industry," they said. "Breweries that hold a food Certificate of Registration may be eligible for a $5000 grant through the Outdoor Eating and Entertainment Package."
Ms Brodie-Hanns said the funding would help support her business by making it viable to open.
"We stopped keg production because our keg customers were closed but we put everything in to bottles and (focused on) servicing local customers through bottle shops," she said. "The community has been amazing and rallied with people supporting local businesses."
Bendigo Beer president Trevor Birks said the dunding would be valuable to local breweries.
"To be included in this fund would be fantastic," he said. "(Breweries) could use that to help meet costs, maybe have a bit of promotional marketing when restrictions ease. Any funding to supplement a business' inability open at full capacity helps."